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Jim Gray – Not Again!

  |   cl blog

Back in August of 2010, Golf Channel’s Jim Gray got into an argument with Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin, and that altercation escalated into more than heated words. Some say Gray may have made a threat to “get” Pavin…allegedly going so far as to say “you’re going down.” While I’m not sure what Gray intended those words to infer (if in fact he said them), it did upset Corey and his wife, as it would anyone under similar circumstances.

It’s important to note that Gray is not a Golf Channel employee. He is hired from time to time as a free-lancer to conduct post-round interviews during key tournaments throughout the year, just as he has done on other networks in the past.

On Thursday, during first round play, Jim Gray pursued an interview with Dustin Johnson over Johnson’s two-stroke penalty for almost missing his tee-time at The Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. He went out onto the course to ask Johnson about the penalty, and that led to a confrontation with Johnson’s caddy, Bobby Brown. The other players in Johnson’s threesome also complained about Gray’s on-course pursuit of an interview during live-play.

For his actions today, Golf Channel announced on Friday that Gray has been dropped from the broadcast team for the rest of this week, and he will not conduct any further interviews during the tournament. What does the future hold for Jim Gray with Golf Channel? We don’t know as yet, but I suspect it will be handled internally…quietly…privately. As well it should.

In my view, golf reporters have a job to do and most do it very well. They probe and pursue and sometimes have to be proactive…yes, even aggressive from time to time. But, many players will do post-round interviews coming off the 18th green, and they can be questioned in the media center after they’ve signed their score cards. I see no reason why a reporter would try to interview Dustin Johnson, or any professional golfer, DURING his round. There is a time and place for asking tough questions, just as it is with all other professional sports.

This is the second time in less than a year that Jim Gray has been part of the story rather than reporting on the story. For now, I’ll overlook his participation in the LeBron James “The Decision” insanity. What happened on Thursday at The Northern Trust Open can’t be good for Gray’s Golf Channel colleagues, and it certainly does no favors for the other hard-working media pros who follow the tour week after week.

Jim Gray needs to realize that covering a golf tournament doesn’t mean he should emulate CNN’s Anderson Cooper reporting “under fire” from some worldwide hot spot. After all, it’s only a golf tournament.